While teaching yoga over the past few years, I discovered that Yin yoga has had such great benefits for everyday people, so I decided to share 11 of the best Yin yoga poses with you, over 2017.
What is Yin yoga, I hear you ask? In most of the common yoga practised today, the focus is on the bigger, thicker, denser muscles, and because they are so thick and dense we find ourselves having to really put some force into stretching them. We could say that this forceful nature of stretching has a Yang (strong) nature to it.
The focus in Yin yoga is somewhat different. In this style of class the focus is on the connective tissue and the fascia and these tissues of the body have a completely different make up.
They are very thin, much like the density of paper, but they are also super elastic and are the support system for the skeleton.
Which means they join the big, dense muscles to the bones at the “joints” – so Yin yoga is all about increasing joint mobility.
An increase in joint mobility means easier everyday movements of the body in general.
The postures we use in Yin yoga are a little different to Hatha yoga poses, they usually tend to be easier shapes that are held for longer periods of time, so the body has time to give into gravity and the elastic nature of the tissues we are stretching.
The other important aspect to Yin yoga is, as the name suggests, the energetic nature of Yin itself.
Yin is often known as the maternal energy of yoga and it is best to view the inconsistencies of the body much like a mother would a child – with unlimited amounts of patience, compassion and loving kindness.
It is very easy to get frustrated with a stiff, inflexible body but this attitude is definitely not going to help you when practising Yin yoga.
A frustrated, hard mind will only create a frustrated, hard body and we don’t want that at all.
Life is already busy enough as it is and we put our bodies under so much mental, physical and emotional duress that I believe Yin yoga is the best antidote for our busy lives.
We want Yin yoga to be the water that quells the fire of life and like water we want to flow creatively and smoothly through life with a cool strength.
What we learn on a yoga mat, we can also use off the mat, in everyday life.
“Be still like the mountain and flow like a great river” – Tao Te Ching.
I look forward to sharing Yin yoga with you this year, for a happier and healthier body and mind.